BWW Review: DIE HARD: A CHRISTMAS STORY at Playhouse On The Park

BWW Review: DIE HARD: A CHRISTMAS STORY at Playhouse On The Park
McClane (Devon Nickel) & Gruber (Shaun McNamara)

You don't have to be a die hard fan of the film DIE HARD to enjoy DIE HARD: A Christmas Story, but it helps.

This All Puppet Players (APP) parody is also sprinkled with lifts from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

As if legless puppets talking smack and engaging in stage combat weren't funny enough, Artistic Director Shaun Michael McNamara takes the holidays over the top with cameos by Santa (Eric Wilson), Sam the Snowman and Jesus (Zach Funk).

McNamara calls them Muppets on LSD, but this send up of Bruce Willis' 1988 blockbuster is closer to Trey Parker & Matt Stone's TEAM AMERICA. Suffice it say, this adult puppet show isn't suitable for anyone under the age of 13...maybe 16.

What it is suitable for is laughs -- lots of them. Although Act Two runs about 10 to 15 minutes too long, with some gags and movie quotes running thin, the puppet-safe special effects and pyrotechnics are worth the wait.

You order tickets online via Phoenix Theatre (PT), but the site is confusing. The drop-down menu to pick dates (below the show artwork) isn't intuitive and the APP venue is actually across the street from PT at Playhouse on the Park in the BMO building.

Think you'd pick up your tickets at PT? Wrong. Will Call tickets for APP are at the Playhouse/BMO concession stand. (Insert trombone gobble sound effect here.)

This should all be cleared up once McNamara's ragtag band secure their own theatre. You can help by making an online donation to

DIE HARD: A Christmas Story runs through December 23. Welcome to the party, pal.

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From This Author Lee Cooley

Lee Cooley Lee Cooley started freelancing as a film critic in 1978 and began reviewing plays in 2011. After more than 20 years in TV, radio and (read more...)

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